Australia trip Part 1

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ClosetHerper
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Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » March 22nd, 2014, 12:35 pm

Part 2 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19156
Part 3 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19215

My wife and I and another family spent 6 weeks in eastern Australia between late December and early February. While the trip was not herp-centric and while most of the herps we saw might elicit a yawn from the real aussie herpers out there, what we did see blew us away. All the wildlife was new and fantastic, especially for anyone new to Australia (i.e us!). We put on a LOT of miles in 6 weeks driving from Sydney to Cairns (inland), making a quick side trip to Darwin (flight), working our way down the coast to south of Brisbane, jumping across SE Australia to Melbourne and a little bit of the Great Ocean Road, and then spending about a week in Tasmania.
I'll break this into three parts so as not to overwhelm any one post with images.
Also, I am open to any corrections on ID

We started out in Sydney and within a couple of hours of getting off the plane, we were looking at our first reptile of the trip: a magnificent eastern water dragon right off of the boardwalk at the crowded Shelly Beach.

Eastern water dragon
Image

We camped in the Blue Mountains just west of town for three nights while we sorted out registering our vehicles (bought and sold 2 rigs for the trip), and taking in the New Year's fireworks display and accompanying sea of humanity! The Blue Mountains were beautiful and gave us our first looks at some Australian icons.

Eastern gray kangaroo
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Sulpher-crested cockatoo
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Common bronzewing
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A couple of days into the drive north we got a taste of the interior seeing herds of kangaroos, wallabies and emus. What a beautiful sight. We had an amazing morning on a nondescript road south of Roma seeing several herps in a short stretch, including a large elapid which was gone before we got out of the car:(

Our first monitor was this beautiful yellow spotted monitor.

Yellow spotted monitor
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This dragon surprised me by holding its ground and putting on a threat display rather than running off.

Eastern bearded dragon
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And then it got hot. Real hot.
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We made a brief visit to Carnarvon Gorge. It was a beautiful place and like everywhere else we went, our time there was too brief!

Australian bustard
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We had a monotreme grand slam this evening seeing both platypus and echidna

Echidna
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Cane toads? gathered near a leaky water tank
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We then blasted our way north through the heat and spent a few nights at water holes between Townsville and Cairns. One night was particularly productive, producing 2 scrub pythons, a carpet python, and a death adder near our camp.

Scrub python
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Northern death adder
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We spent several days in the Cairns area, making day trips to the surrounding area including the Great Barrier Reef.

This monitor was a campground bum and a little aggressive:

Lace monitor
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I was really impressed by the fruit bat camp in downtown Cairns. Sad to hear of the controversy there and that (possibly by now) the city will attempt to relocate them :(

Spectacled flying fox eating mango
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And a hike in Daintree NP, carefully inspecting the rainforest vegetation, produced two Boyd's forest dragons that I had hoped to see:

Boyd's forest dragon
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Finally for Part 1, this brush turkey was such a cooperative subject, I was able to use my 16-35

Australian brush turkey
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Hope you enjoy these and there are plenty more on the way!

Part 2 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19156

Part 3 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19215

speedy
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by speedy » March 22nd, 2014, 12:45 pm

Great shots, you did pretty well for not specifically herping. Your skink is Eulamprus heatwolei, the Yellow bellied water skink.

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Ribbit
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Ribbit » March 23rd, 2014, 6:29 am

Your beautiful photos brought back a lot of happy memories. I've got to get back out there sometime soon!

Your "cane toads?" are indeed cane toads.

John

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Antonsrkn » March 23rd, 2014, 7:55 pm

Great photography work and looks like you turned up a lot of nice critters!

gus
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by gus » March 24th, 2014, 9:53 pm

Your skink is likely to be a Yellow-bellied Water Skink (Eulamprus heatwolei)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Kelly Mc » March 25th, 2014, 1:36 am

The Boyd's Dragon is a special treat.

And thats the best photo of a kangaroo Ive ever seen in my life.

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » March 25th, 2014, 6:30 am

Your daughter with that lizard. That's a shot for the ages. Everything's just right in it - the wind in her hair - the excited-yet-semi-scared expression and body language (slightly hunched shoulders, ready to chuck the lizard far, far away), the blue nails - everything. I hope this will end up on a wall in your house!

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chrisr
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by chrisr » March 25th, 2014, 7:19 am

Great post, thanks. Look forward to more,

C

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » March 26th, 2014, 2:17 pm

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:Your daughter with that lizard. That's a shot for the ages. Everything's just right in it - the wind in her hair - the excited-yet-semi-scared expression and body language (slightly hunched shoulders, ready to chuck the lizard far, far away), the blue nails - everything. I hope this will end up on a wall in your house!
Your description cracks me up. Thanks

pythonregius3
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by pythonregius3 » March 26th, 2014, 3:25 pm

Sweet post. Echidna is awesome. Also death adder and scrub are really cool

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krisbell
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by krisbell » March 28th, 2014, 1:18 am

Great post - you saw a decent spread of critters. I particularly like your bird shots - can I ask what telephoto setup you are using?

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » March 28th, 2014, 8:24 am

Thanks for the comments.

The bird pics, with the exception of the brush turkey, were made with a Canon 600/4. While bird pics were made almost exclusively with the 600, I used everything from a 16-35, 180 macro, 70-210, and 100-400 for the mammal and herp pics.

J-Miz
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by J-Miz » March 28th, 2014, 11:01 am

AWESOME shots. I'm a big fan of stellar photography. This post makes me want to visit Australia. Just about to click on part two...

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Field Herper
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Field Herper » March 30th, 2014, 6:51 pm

Good shots Milo. Even though we see a lot of roos, that shot is quite appealing.

Where is the Eulamprus heatwolei photo that is mentioned in some posts?
Also where is part 3 in this series?

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Ribbit
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Ribbit » March 30th, 2014, 6:58 pm

Hmm, that Eulamprus photo does seem to have vanished from this post. Global secret anti-skink conspiracy?

John

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Field Herper » March 30th, 2014, 7:09 pm

It's good to know that it's not just me that can't see it. Thanks John

P.S - yes the damned GSASC strikes again! I've heard that their latest triumph is to have ALL the skinks in Australia re-classified, so that we now no longer even have any skinks! :twisted:

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Ribbit
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Ribbit » March 30th, 2014, 7:55 pm

That would be quite an accomplishment, as you currently have an insane number of skinks! (And that doesn't even take into consideration the most recent ten or twelve reclassifications.)

John

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » March 30th, 2014, 9:30 pm

No, you are not crazy. I took it and another pic down. Given the rules for handling wildlife in Australia, at least one forum member suggested removing the images of people handling herps (the skink was in-hand). I left the pic of little Ria holding the dragon... because who is going to go after a girl holding a lizard!

Thanks for looking!

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justinm
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by justinm » April 1st, 2014, 11:49 am

This is a stellar post. It's hard to believe that you did this all on a trip, and that you're not a native who spent months. Great photos, I looked them over twice.

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by tacticalveterinarian » April 1st, 2014, 2:56 pm

Great photos! Thank you for sharing!

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moloch
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by moloch » April 4th, 2014, 10:15 pm

Great stuff, Milo. Loved that first Water Dragon and then the Boyd's, especially the little juvenile that was trying to stay on the back of the vine. Aren't bearded dragons amazing? I don't see how they survive. They are so incredibly unwary.

That was a terrific shot of the bustard. I've seen them displaying like that in the distance but never up close. Their call is so strange.


Regards,
David

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » April 7th, 2014, 12:48 pm

moloch wrote:... Aren't bearded dragons amazing? I don't see how they survive. They are so incredibly unwary.
I couldn't agree more. Perhaps one of the many illustrations of how "naive" Australian wildlife is; evolving in isolation in relatively simple ecosystems. That lizard would be toast in North America or almost anywhere else!
moloch wrote:... That was a terrific shot of the bustard. I've seen them displaying like that in the distance but never up close. Their call is so strange.
I was hoping to see their amazing display. I just wish it was not standing on a road!

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Field Herper
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Field Herper » April 15th, 2014, 6:53 am

ClosetHerper wrote:No, you are not crazy. I took it and another pic down. Given the rules for handling wildlife in Australia, at least one forum member suggested removing the images of people handling herps (the skink was in-hand). I left the pic of little Ria holding the dragon... because who is going to go after a girl holding a lizard!

Thanks for looking!
Fair enough; that's probably a wise move, especially if you want to come back. ;)
Seriously though, you're welcome anytime.

The pleasure is ours Milo. Thank you for sharing.

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by ClosetHerper » April 20th, 2014, 6:10 pm

Sorry for the pics disappearing but apparently, Photobucket's 10GB/month bandwidth limit was exceeded by all of the views of these posts! Thanks again for all the views and nice comments on all three parts. Sooooo, I dumped Photobucket and hosted the photos on Hypermart, where my website is hosted. Anyway, the photos are back!

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Re: Australia trip Part 1

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 20th, 2014, 6:49 pm

ClosetHerper wrote:Sorry for the pics disappearing but apparently, Photobucket's 10GB/month bandwidth limit was exceeded by all of the views of these posts!
That must be a first on FHF. Congrats to your unexpected record, and thanks for putting them back up!

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